Broncos release C.J. Anderson, could be in market for NFL draft's top RBs
The Denver Broncos will have a new starting running back in 2018.
The team released veteran C.J. Anderson Monday morning prior to the start of the team’s offseason program. The move was first reported by NFL Media.
Anderson spent the entire offseason in limbo, in part because of the $4.5 million salaries he was due in 2018 and 2019 – with none of it guaranteed.
With Anderson’s departure, 2016 second-round pick Devontae Booker becomes the likely candidate to be the team’s starting running back while also opening the door for 2017 sixth-round pick De’Angelo Henderson to see increased playing time. Henderson’s rookie season was derailed by a July wrist injury that required surgery.
The move to release Anderson also adds intrigue to the top to the draft, where the Broncos own the No. 5 pick. Could general manager John Elway make a play for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with at No. 5 should the three teams picking ahead of them (the Browns own two of the top four picks) pass? In order for Barkley to be on the board at that point, the Broncos likely would need the top three teams to take quarterbacks, followed by the Browns going with a wild card — perhaps North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb.
Another possible scenario is that Elway now uses one of the team’s early selections – all of the Broncos’ eight picks are in the first five rounds, including two in the third – on a tailback in what appears to be a deep class at the position.
As for Anderson, a logical landing spot for the veteran is with the Miami Dolphins, with whom he previously tried to sign as a restricted free agent. Miami also expressed interest in trading for Anderson this offseason. If Anderson were to land there, he would be reunited with head coach Adam Gase and run game coordinator Eric Studesville, with whom he had close relationships with in Denver.
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.